MOUNT VERNON, New York - The 21-year-old man accused in the shooting death of a 13-year-old basketball star in Mount Vernon was arraigned on murder charges Friday, one night after his apparent victim was ceremoniously drafted into the WNBA.
David Hardy already pleaded not guilty in the death of Shamoya McKenzie, who was struck in the head by a stray bullet while on her way home from practice on New Year's Eve.
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He is charged with second-degree murder, attempted murder, assault and criminal possession of a weapon. Hardy was a maintenance worker for the city of Mount Vernon, but he had been terminated in December for failure to show up to work.
McKenzie was sitting in the family's car when the bullet struck her, an innocent bystander in what authorities are calling a gang feud. Police said Hardy was firing at a rival named Prince Scott, who was injured. He was arrested about two weeks after the shooting.
Hundreds of mourners packed the Macedonia Baptist Church for McKenzie's funeral in January.
McKenzie, who was 6-foot-2, already was playing for Mount Vernon's junior varsity high school team and had just advanced to the varsity team the day she died. She was described by Mount Vernon school officials and coaches as a shining star and an excellent student, athlete and role model.
On Thursday night, after the conclusion of WNBA draft at the New York Liberty draft party, All-Star center Tina Charles announced that the Liberty was making McKenzie the 37th pick of the 2017 WNBA Draft.
"It is important for the New York Liberty to continue to show up for Shamoya McKenzie, a young woman who was killed in a senseless act of violence," New York Liberty President Isiah Thomas said. "In speaking with Shamoya's mother Nadine, I learned it was her dream to play for the New York Liberty, and am honored we were able to make her dream come true by selecting her as a member of our team."
She also was earlier an honorary member of the University of Connecticut women's basketball team, for which she had dreamed of playing.
Coach Geno Auriemma said at the time that he decided to make the gesture after hearing her story, and he sent McKenzie's family a team jersey with her number, 30, along with a letter that read, "Once a Husky, Always a Husky."
Hardy faces 25 years to life in state prison if convicted. His next court date is May 16.
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